MEG CABOT
For Benjamin
Many thanks to Beth Adler, Ingo Arndt, Jennifer Brown,    John Henry Dreyfuss,Benjamin Egnatz, Carrie, Feron, Michele Jaff...
CONTENTS      THANKS  BEGIN READING   WANT MORE… ABOUT THE AUTHOR   BY MEG CABOT     CREDITS    COPYRIGHTABOUT THE PUBLISHER
Travel Diary of                                   Holly Caputo and Mark LevineOn Their ElopementComposed by Jane Harris, W...
I suppose I could email you on my new BLACKBERRY, but as you keep reminding me, Holly, it’sfor WORK PURPOSES ONLY, which i...
(Oh my God! Cell Phone Guy just practically threw his phone at one of those little carts with the oldpeople in it! The one...
Oh, wait, I can just rip out the pages with Cell Phone Guy comments. Or black them out with aSharpie.      Or maybe I shou...
Thanks for last night. However, I think moving in together might be a little precipitous. And I don’t thinkyour husband wo...
Travel Diary of                                  Holly Caputo and Mark Levine                                             ...
Travel Diary of                                  Holly Caputo and Mark Levine                                             ...
And get this: he’s never heard of Wondercat.      Never. Heard. Of. Wonder. Cat.      He has to be lying. He writes for th...
And yes, I did ask her what a Wondercat was. Is that why she is busy scribbling into the travel diary shebought at the dut...
But seriously. Is this girl one of those cat people? For the love of God please tell me I’m not going to be  stuck in a mi...
des which, I happen to like smart men.  Right. Like Malcolm. t’s low, even for you. I will have you know that Malcolm can ...
Jane, your bedroom still smells like the inside of a bong.typical of you to bring this up at a sensitive time like this. A...
Benvenuti in                                           (Welcome to)                                     Alitalia Inflight ...
Travel Diary of                                 Holly Caputo and Mark Levine                                              ...
PDA of Cal LangdonAs usual, the food on this flight is barely edible. And what passes for entertainment in this country th...
Still, though she may be an artist, Ms. Harris does have very shiny hair. It’s brown, like her eyes.     The tattoo of a c...
Benvenuti in                              (Welcome to)                        Alitalia Inflight Menu                      ...
Travel Diary of                                  Holly Caputo and Mark Levine                                             ...
it weren’t for her, Wondercat would never have seen the light of day, but would still be just a silly sketchin my notepad,...
Travel Diary of                                  Holly Caputo and Mark Levine                                             ...
it’s a black rolly bag, and there are only five billion other black rolly bags that look exactly like it. Atleast I can te...
Well, I hope you arrived safely. Be careful of pickpockets in Rome. I hear they like to careen past touristson Vespas thro...
I am understand you will have arrived today! This is perfect. I am making your uncle’s house, VillaBeccacia, a home for yo...
I really don’t think you have to worry about my bag getting snatched, Mom. The only people I see onVespas here are fashion...
Can you believe it? He got an email from his freaking mother about some girl from his hometown wholives in NY now. I’m goi...
HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherOh. Nothing.JTo: Ja...
To: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherWho? Amy Jenkins?She mar...
Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherWhy not?HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com...
Re: His MotherHIS WHAT?????????????????????JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjourna...
Oh, so you’re saying he has a heart after all?JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjou...
Re: BenvenutoThat is blatantly obvious.CalTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@theny...
MarkTo: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoI didn’t say ...
They’re all special, my friend.But special enough to shackle myself to her for the rest of eternity, the way you’re doing?...
RICEVUTA TAXI-ROMAPercoso:Da… Fiumacino A… Hotel AlexanderFirmaImporto Corsa 80.00 Euro                                Ben...
Travel Diary of                                      Holly Caputo and Mark LevineJane HarrisWe’re HERE!!!!!!!! At the hote...
On second thought, I didn’t sleep very well on the plane, thanks to The Armrest Nazi. I suppose Ishouldn’t call him that a...
To: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Aaron Spender <a.spender@cnn.com>Re: ThingsWhat’s this I hear about you ...
artistic than her lint people.To: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Graziella Fratiani <graziella@galleriefrat...
PDA of Cal LangdonArt sent the UK cover design for Sandstoday. It’s got a very romantic feel to it that I’m not sure is en...
To: Julio Chasez <julio@streetsmart.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: The DudeHi, Julio! Me, again! Just checkin...
Travel Diary of                                  Holly Caputo and Mark Levine                                             ...
Steve Madden slides.      But then Mark called on Holly’s cell and said he was hungry and Cal wasn’t answering the phone i...
how dire our need was, considering Holly’s tears. Anyway, he sat us under the shade of his restaurant’sbig fluttery awning...
“What is this?” I asked, in wonder, holding my glass up to the light and looking at all the lovelybubbles.      “Frizzante...
Stay away from those I-ty Latin Lover types. I know how those guys operate. They only want a green card,anyway. Not that y...
Travel Diary of                                  Holly Caputo and Mark Levine                                             ...
Killing self now.To: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: SorrySorr...
PDA of Cal LangdonIt was a mistake to invite Grazi in. I should have insisted on going to her place. I’d forgotten how… lo...
ANTIPASTIInsalatina mista all’aceto balsamico Carpaccio tiepido di manzo con parmigiano e rucola Medaglioni               ...
PDA of Cal LangdonInsisted on paying for dinner, as spent majority of it pontificating on Sweeping Sands, and felt I had t...
Travel Diary of                                  Holly Caputo and Mark Levine                                             ...
a bitter shell of a man. But does he have to take it out on me?       Also, he may think he’s slick, but when I was leavin...
rom my own personal experience, yes. And from the relationships I’ve observed around me.” o Holly and Mark are going to br...
—                                   —                                   —                                       —To: Custo...
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Every boy's got one

  1. 1. MEG CABOT
  2. 2. For Benjamin
  3. 3. Many thanks to Beth Adler, Ingo Arndt, Jennifer Brown, John Henry Dreyfuss,Benjamin Egnatz, Carrie, Feron, Michele Jaffe, Laura Langlie, and Greg and Sophia Travis
  4. 4. CONTENTS THANKS BEGIN READING WANT MORE… ABOUT THE AUTHOR BY MEG CABOT CREDITS COPYRIGHTABOUT THE PUBLISHER
  5. 5. Travel Diary of Holly Caputo and Mark LevineOn Their ElopementComposed by Jane Harris, Witnessaka Maid of Honoraka Holly’s best friend since first grade androommate since freshman year atParsons School of DesignDear Holly and Mark,Surprise! I know neither one of you would bother to keep a record of your elopement, so I’ve decided to do itfor you! This way, when you’re approaching your twentieth anniversary and your oldest kid has justwrecked the Volvo and your youngest has just come home from her cushy Westchester private school withhead lice and the dog’s thrown up all over the living room rug and, Holly, you’re asking yourself why youever moved out of the righteous East Village pad we shared for so long, and, Mark, you’re wishing you’dstayed in resident housing down at St. Vincents, you can open this diary and go, “Oh, so THAT’s why wegot married.” Because you two are the grooviest couple I know, and totally belong together, and I think eloping toItaly is a BRILLIANT idea, even if you did steal it from Kate Mackenzie in Human Resources. The eloping part, I mean. Not the Italy part. But she HAD to elope. I mean, with in-laws like hers? What CHOICE did she have? But you two are doing it for the pure romance of the thing—not because you HAVE to, because bothyour families are perfectly respectable. Well, I guess there is that teensy religion thing with your moms. But whatever! They’ll get over it. Anyway, that’s what makes your elopement so special. And I plan to record every detail of that special-ness, starting now, before we even get on the plane.Before I even meet you guys at the gate. Which, by the way, where ARE you, anyway? I mean, we weresupposed to get here three hours before our departure time. You know that, don’t you? I mean, it says thatright on the ticket. For international travel, please arrive no later than three hours prior to departure time. So. Where are you guys?
  6. 6. I suppose I could email you on my new BLACKBERRY, but as you keep reminding me, Holly, it’sfor WORK PURPOSES ONLY, which is the only reason the IT guys let you have them (thanks for mine,by the way. I mean, it’s nice of Tim and those guys to think of me, even though I don’t exactly work thereanymore). God, I hope nothing happened to you. I mean, on the way. People drive like maniacs on theexpressway. Wait—you didn’t change your minds, did you? About getting married? You can’t. That would beawful! Just AWFUL! I mean, you two are so perfect for each other… not to mention, it would be totallyunfair to cancel on me. My first trip to Europe, and my travel companions ditch me? As it is, I can’t evenbelieve I’m really doing it. Why did I wait so long? Who turns thirty without having been outside thecontinental United States at least once in her life? No Paris with French class in the 11th grade. No“Cabo” for Spring Break in college. What’s wrong with me, anyway? Why am I such a non-transcontinental flying freak? And okay, seriously, what is with the guy with the cell phone over there? I mean, he’s cute andeverything. But why is he yelling? We’re going to Italy, dude. Italy! So chill. Okay, ignore the guy on the cell phone. IGNORE THE GUY ON THE CELL PHONE. I can’t believeI’m wasting the first pages of your travel diary on him. Who cares about him? I’M GOING TO EUROPE! I mean, WE’RE going to Europe. I think. If you two aren’t lying in the twisted wreckage of your taxi to the airport on the Long IslandExpressway. Let’s just assume you were running a little late this morning and that you aren’t dead. Thank God you two are making me do this. You and Mark, I mean, Holly. I’m finally crossing theAtlantic, and for what better REASON? God, it’s so romantic— (Oh, wait, that’s the same guy who was in front of me at the duty free! The one who was rolling hiseyes because I bought all those bottles of Aquafina. Obviously he hasn’t read this month’s Shape. Theysay air travel is very dehydrating, and that you should drink half your body weight in water during thecourse of your flight if you want to avoid jet lag.) And okay, they have water on the plane and all, but is it good water? I mean, as good as Aquafina?Probably not. I saw this thing on Ask Asa on Channel 4 where they sent the water from a plane to a laband it was filled with all these microbes! And okay, it was the water from the tap in the plane bathroom,and no one would really drink that, but still. Not that MY mom and dad wouldn’t kill me if I did what you’re doing, Holly. Elope, I mean. And toITALY, of all places. But it’s just so totally you, Holly. God, you’re lucky. Mark is so… grounded. And Mark, I know Igive you a hard time about being such a sci-fi geek and all, but seriously, if I could meet a guy as—
  7. 7. (Oh my God! Cell Phone Guy just practically threw his phone at one of those little carts with the oldpeople in it! The one taking them to their gate! And just because the guy driving it made that backing-up-truck sound to warn him he was in the way. God, what’s got his panties in such a bunch? Although hehardly looks like a panty-wearing type of guy. Jockeys, more likely. Or maybe boxers. Oh, no. How can I give this diary to Holly and Mark if it’s full of musings about some random guy’sunderwear???? NOW what am I going to give them? I can’t give them candlesticks or something. This is HOLLY. Ithas to be something SPECIAL. Okay, well, one mention of underwear. You guys don’t mind, do you? I mean, it’s just underwear.) Where was I? Oh yeah. Mark. So cute, in spite of the Star Trek Next Generation marathons he makesyou watch, Holl. So responsible, with the whole doctor-and-health-column thing. Which reminds me, Ineed to ask him about this mole on my elbow. God, Holly’s so lucky, she can get her moles checked forfree anytime she wants. Why can’t I find a boyfriend with a useful skill like that? All Malcolm can do isbeat me at Vice City. And what good is that? Can a high score on Vice City save you from a life-threatening carcinoma? No. Okay, now I totally can’t give this to Holly and Mark. What is wrong with me? Cell Phone Guy just hung up on whoever it was he was talking to. I just heard him go, “That isinexcusable,” but that was all I could get because they’ve got CNN turned up so loud in here. Now he’sgot out his Blackberry. He’s typing into it furiously. I will never be able to type that fast into mine. But maybe that’s a good thing. Cell Phone Guy is a classic example of a Type A personality, asillustrated in lastmonth’s Shape. I can practically SEE his blood pressure going up. I hope he doesn’tstroke out on the plane. Although I wouldn’t mind giving him CPR. Oh my God, I can’t believe I just wrote that. But he is kind of cute. I mean, if you like the tall, rugged, sandy-haired, razor-stubbled-with-piercing-blue-eyes-who-knows-how-to-use-a-Blackberry type. Okay. Now I definitely won’t be able to give this to Holly and Mark as a wedding present.
  8. 8. Oh, wait, I can just rip out the pages with Cell Phone Guy comments. Or black them out with aSharpie. Or maybe I should just get Holly and Mark a nice silver frame from Tiffany’s instead. But that seemslike kind of a lame present to get for someone who has held your hair back while you were throwing uptequila shooters as many times as Holly has for me. Although of course I’ve done it for her often enough, most recently Friday night when the entire artdepartment took her out for a bachelorette party. For two people who are supposed to be eloping, Markand Holly told an AWFUL lot of people beforehand. !!!! On CNN it says a plane is being held at the San Francisco airport under suspicion that apassenger aboard it has a highly contagious virus that they’re worried will spread worldwide!!!! You know what this means: I need more snacks for the plane. Seriously, those people have been on board that plane for TWO HOURS with no food service. If Igo two hours without eating, I get that weird thing where I can’t see out of one eye. And Toblerone won’tdo it. I need something with protein. Like smoked almonds. And maybe some cheese popcorn. Which I betthey don’t even have in Italy. I better go back to the duty free and stock up, just in case….To: Tara Samuels <tara.samuels@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: Travel ServicesWhere is everybody? I’ve been calling for the past half hour, and nobody there is picking up. Does Travelget half days on Fridays through September, or something, while the rest of us slobs have to give them upon Labor Day?I asked you guys to book this ticket a month ago, but I’m at the airport now and they claim I’m in coach,not business class.In a middle seat. For a seven-hour flight.Freaking Frodo wouldn’t last for six hours in a seat that small. How is a six-foot-four, two-hundred-pound man supposed to do it?Someone had better pull some strings or you’re going to have one very unhappy journalist on your hands.C. LangdonTo: Dolly Vargas<dolly.vargas@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: Last night
  9. 9. Thanks for last night. However, I think moving in together might be a little precipitous. And I don’t thinkyour husband would really appreciate it.Let’s just keep things casual for now, and see how things go. Okay? I’m off to some podunk part of Italyno one’s ever heard of because Levine has some idiot idea he’s going to get married there, but I’ll be intouch when I get back in a week.C.To: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Tara Samuels <tara.samuels@thenyjournal.com>Re: Travel ServicesI’m SO sorry, Mr. Langdon, we were in a budget meeting, which is why no one picked up. I’ve beencalling the airline ever since I got back, and they’re booked solid. I could get you in business class onanother flight… but not until tomorrow. Would that be all right?Again, I’m so sorry about the misunderstanding. I can’t imagine how you ended up in coach. WeALWAYS book you in business class, as you know. Except of course when the plane you’re taking is sosmall, there isn’t a business class. Which isn’t the case here. I can’t apologize enough, really. Could weupgrade you to a suite when you get to your hotel?TaraTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Dolly Vargas <dolly.vargas@thenyjournal.com>Re: Last nightThere you are! I’ve only left ten messages on your cell phone. How COULD you have snuck out like thatthis morning, without even leaving a note?And Peter and I aren’t married, sweetie. We have an understanding—the same one you and I have.And of course I wasn’t asking you to move in permanently. Just offering you the spare guest room untilyou find a place of your own. I know how brutal the New York real-estate market can be.Not that you’ll have any problems, the way sales are going for Sweeping Sands. In fact, the penthouseacross from mine just went up for sale, a steal at two million. Interested? I could speak to the co-op boardon your behalf….In any case, darling, call me when you get back from Mark’s little elopement.XXXOOODolly
  10. 10. Travel Diary of Holly Caputo and Mark Levine Jane HarrisOK, I asked Cell Phone Guy to watch my stuff for a minute while I ran to buy snacks, and he wasTOTALLY rude about it. He said, in this very snarky way, “I highly doubt anyone is going to steal yourwater, miss.” !!!!! Which wasn’t even what I was asking him to watch. My water, I mean. Clearly, I meant my BAG. Imean, the last thing I need is for the airport to blow up my stuff because I left it unattended. Whatever. It’s just like Malcolm says. Some people just suck, and there’s nothing you can do aboutit. I should have known Cell Phone Guy was one of them. Especially the way he keeps banging at thekeyboard of that Blackberry. He’s still at it. How can someone so anal retentive look so good in a pair ofjeans? I don’t get it. I mean, evolutionarily speaking, his kind should have been wiped out a long time ago.Because who’d want to mate with someone with THAT kind of attitude? OOOOOOH, I see Holly!!!! Holly and Mark are here, at last! YAY! I wonder where Mark’s friend Cal is. The best man, I mean. We were all supposed to meet at thegate….To: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: Where are you?I’m at the gate. I don’t see you. You didn’t take my advice and cancel the thing at the last minute, did you?Forget it, you’re not the leave-em-at-the-altar type.So. Nervous yet? I’ve got the flask, don’t worry. We’re going to need it, too, there’s a real nut job on thisflight. Apparently she thinks there’s a possibility we might crash land in the Sahara.Hurry up and get here, I want to kiss the bride—Oh, there you are.Cal
  11. 11. Travel Diary of Holly Caputo and Mark Levine Jane HarrisOh my God. Cell Phone Guy is Cal. Cal Langdon, Mark’s best buddy since elementary school, the one who’sbeen traveling all around the world for the Journal, writing about social unrest and economic instabilityfor the past ten years. The one with the new book that’s just out—the one he supposedly got this hugeadvance for. I wish I were on that plane that’s stuck in the San Francisco airport instead of on this one. I wouldrather have a deadly virus than have to spend a minute more in the company of Cal Langdon, aka CellPhone Guy, aka Mark Levine’s Best Friend. Oh, but guess what? HE’S SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO ME. That’s what he was so mad aboutbefore. He was calling Travel Services at the Journal, trying to get them to change his seat so he could sitin business class, or at least on the aisle, and not in the middle, like he is now. Ha ha. Ha ha, Cal In the Middle. Hope you like bumping your elbow into mine every five seconds,Mr. I-Highly-Doubt-Anyone-Is-Going-To-Steal-Your-Water,-Miss. Because I am SO not giving up myaisle seat. No way. And don’t expect me to share my water with you, either. OR my Toblerone. Or my cheese popcorn. Idon’t care how long we’re stuck on this runway, or what kind of virus might get into the ventilationsystem. You’re getting nada from me, mister. I’m not telling Holly how much I hate her husband’s best man, though. I don’t want to spoil thisspecial time for her. I am so not going to be able to give them this travel diary as a wedding gift. Oh well. It’s probablyjust as well, since my handwriting is barely legible, thanks to the Armrest Nazi next to me. Excuse me,Mr. I’m-So-Big-I-Need-To-Take-Up-Your-Space-Too. Could you please move your stupid hairy armwith the stupid waterproof watch that tells the altitude and the exact time on all seven continents which Iknow you so need, being such a fancy world traveler who knows so much about foreign policy and thingsa poor little cartoonist like me couldn’t even begin to understand? I’ll tell you one thing: if this is a setup, Holly is dead. I mean, I know she doesn’t like Malcolm, butcould she seriously, even for one second, entertain the idea that I might like Mister Nothing-Comes-Between-Me-And-My-Blackberry here? Please! He asked me what I do for a living (he was so justmaking conversation because Holly and Mark are seated right behind us, and he didn’t want to look likethe Uptight Anal Retentive Control Freak he really is in front of them), and when I said I was a cartoonist,he was like, “You’re kidding.” Totally deadpan. You’re kidding.
  12. 12. And get this: he’s never heard of Wondercat. Never. Heard. Of. Wonder. Cat. He has to be lying. He writes for the paper in which Wondercat was born. And ok, he’s abroad all the time, and you can’t get the Journal everywhere. But doesn’t he watchtelevision? He may have been gallivanting all around the world for the past decade, but excuse me, he’sback now, promoting his stupid book. Hasn’t he seen Wondercat’s commercial for energy-saving productson New York One? Everyone watches New York One, if only to check the temperature. My God. Who is this guy? And why does Mark even like him???? I think I’m going to have to have a word with Holly. Does she know what she’s getting herself into,marrying a man who’d be best friends with a guy who doesn’t watch TV????To: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: I’m going to kill youWhat in hell is a Wondercat?CalTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: I’m going to kill youExcuse me. I don’t believe you are allowed to use these things on planes.MarkPS You didn’t tell her you didn’t know who Wondercat is, did you?To: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: I’m going to kill youYou can’t use them while you’re in the air, according to the FAA— although I doubt the veracity of this,as I’ve left mine on plenty of times and none of my flights have ever plummeted into the sea because of it.You can, however, still legally use them when you’re sitting uselessly on the tarmac while the air controltower guys are having a limbo contest, as they are apparently doing right now because I can see no otherconceivable reason why we’re not being allowed to take off.
  13. 13. And yes, I did ask her what a Wondercat was. Is that why she is busy scribbling into the travel diary shebought at the duty free? Because I offended her so deeply with my lack of knowledge about her cat?CalTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: I’m going to kill youYes. And stop emailing me, Holly keeps asking who I’m writing to. I told her it was the hospital, and nowshe’s mad that the hospital is emailing me when I’m supposed to be eloping.MarkTo: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: I’m going to kill youHow would the hospital even know that, anyway? The word elope means to run away with a lover withthe intention of wedding in secret. How secret is your wedding going to be if the hospital knows about it?CTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: I’m going to kill youI had to tell the hospital I was getting married. And the paper. They weren’t going to give the time off, orlet me out of my column, otherwise. DON’T TELL Holly. She still thinks the only people who know whatwe’re really doing are the four of us.And of course the entire art department at the New York Journal. But she doesn’t know that I know that.MarkPS Quit writing to me. I’m turning this thing off.To: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: You DogYour secret’s safe with me.
  14. 14. But seriously. Is this girl one of those cat people? For the love of God please tell me I’m not going to be stuck in a middle seat in coach next to one of those cat people. She doesn’t carry around pictures of it in her wallet, does she? Her cat? Because I will suffer an aneurysm midair if that’s the case— AT THIS TIME THE CAPTAIN HAS REQUESTED THAT ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES BE TURNED OFF AND STOWED AWAY UNTIL WE HAVE REACHED CRUISING ALTITUDE What do you think of him?God, Holly. What is this, the ninth grade? You’re passing me notes? On the PLANE???? Well, how else am I supposed to talk to you with the stupid food cart in the way? And they won’t let us turn on our Blackberries. Come on, hurry up, while he’s asleep. What do you think of him?ot really asleep. He’s just faking it so he won’t have to talk to me. I know because he’s still playing armrest war with me. Every time I put my elbow on the armrest, he puts his there, too, to block mine. You don’t like him?he’s never heard of Wondercat!!!! Janie, he’s been doing foreign correspondence for the past ten years. They don’t get family papers like the ones that run Wondercat in places like Kabul.u said he moved back to the US a couple of weeks ago— And you think he should have spent those weeks catching up on YOUR comic, as opposed to, I don’t know, FINDING A PLACE TO LIVE???He also made fun of me for bringing so many bottles of water onboard. You do have kind of a lot. me. Nine out of ten people found dead after getting lost in the desert actually have water left in their canteens, they were just so concerned about conserving it, they didn’t drink enough of it to survive. It’s true. I saw it on the Discovery Channel. Okay, okay. But what do you think of him???? Do you like him? He’s cute, right? I told you he was cute.ms very… smart. The Blackberry thing. I knew it. I told Mark to tell him to put that thing away. I know nothing freaks you out more than guys who are smarter than you.believe you just wrote that. First of all, it’s not even true, and second of all, in no way is Cal smarter than me. I mean, yes, he has traveled all over the world covering news stories about grisly wars and Ebola outbreaks and has written a book and stuff, but that does not mean he is smarter than I am. I mean, can he draw a cat?
  15. 15. des which, I happen to like smart men. Right. Like Malcolm. t’s low, even for you. I will have you know that Malcolm can do a 360-degree spin in midair and not lose his board. You have got to stop dating snowboarders and musicians, Jane. You’re 30 years old now. You’ve got to start thinking about the future, and date people who will actually stick around for a change, instead of going off to their next X-Game or gig. I don’t WANT a boyfriend who sticks around. Have you ever thought about that? Then why did you cry so much those first couple weeks after Malcolm moved out? lt bad for The Dude. You know they’d bonded. Yeah, well, there’s that, too. The Dude needs some stability in his life. He might not bite people as much if he had a positive male role model in his life. The same could be said of you. Plus, financially, you’d be much better off with a partner who actually has steady employment. As a freelancer, you are paying a premium for health insurance. If you married a guy who had his own insurance— through, say, the paper—that’d be a big chunk of change saved. Plus you’d have security. And a 401K. pretty funny coming from a woman who once spent an entire month’s rent money on a pair of purple leather pants. Hello. Can we talk about things that happened in this millennium, please?You know what? It’s very unfair of you to throw all that stuff about 401Ks and all of that into my face, when you know perfectly well that I HAD all that when I was dating DAVE, and you saw how THAT turned out. OK, well, I’ll admit walking in on your boyfriend in bed with your HR rep can be psychologically scarring. Especially considering it was Amy Jenkins. But you’ll recall that I ALWAYS told you it was never a good idea to date a foreigner. You can never tell when they’re lying. Dave was BRITISH. Yes, but that accent had us fooled. If he’d been from this country, we’d have known right away he was an HR rep—whoremonger. But really, Janie, just because things didn’t work out with Dave is no reason to start dating unemployed losers half his age— remind you that Malcolm is not unemployed? You know he got that big Winter Cal Games contract. That’s the only reason he left. I mean, he had to move up to Canada. For the snow. And the fact that he was a chronic wake and baker had nothing to do with you ENCOURAGING him to move. t least he isn’t an anal-retentive control freak like SOME people who happen to be sitting next to me, HOGGING THE ARMREST.
  16. 16. Jane, your bedroom still smells like the inside of a bong.typical of you to bring this up at a sensitive time like this. After all, YOU’RE the bride. I’m only the bridesmaid. Or witness. Or whatever. Well, other than the “smart” thing, what do you think of Cal? Do you like him?n mail from Wondercat readers in SRI LANKA, Holly. SRI LANKANS have heard of Wondercat. But not Mark’s friend Cal. So? Have you ever read any of his articles on land-mines?t I know what a land mine is!!!!!!!!! Just try to get along with him, will you? Because otherwise it’s going to be a really long trip.blem. Now stop writing to me, please, my food is here.
  17. 17. Benvenuti in (Welcome to) Alitalia Inflight MenuDurante il volo da New York a Roma verra servita la cena e, prima dell’ arrivo, la colazione. I piatta che gusterete sono stati preparati per voi. Buon appetito. (During the flight from New York to Rome we will be serving dinner and then, prior to arrival, breakfast. The dishes on today’s menu have been specially prepared for you. Enjoy your meal.) Cena (Dinner) Farfalle al pomodoro pachino e foglie di basilico Rolle di tacchinella e broccoletti accompagnata da caponata de melanzane e patate (Farfalle pasta shapes in a fresh pachino tomato and basil sauce Turkey roll with broccoli stuffing served with aubergine stew and potatoes) Oppure (Or) Filetti de pescatrice con potage de zucchine e insalata Catalana (Monk fish fillet with green zucchini potage and Catalan style salad) Assortimento dei fromaggi, accompagnali da composte di frutta e cruditees Caffe “Espresso” e cioccolatini (Cheese assortment accompanied by crudites and fresh fruit compote Italian “Espresso” coffee and chocolates)
  18. 18. Travel Diary of Holly Caputo and Mark Levine Jane HarrisOh my God. The Italian food on the plane is better than the Italian takeout around the corner from myapartment. And I thought their insalata caprese was to die for. The movie is starting. It’s the new Hugh Jackman! OH MY GOD, I HAVE DIED AND GONE TOHEAVEN! I AM GOING TO EUROPE WITH MY BEST FRIEND AND THEY ARE SHOWING AHUGH JACKMAN MOVIE ON THE PLANE. If only the Armrest Nazi would MOVE HIS ELBOW.
  19. 19. PDA of Cal LangdonAs usual, the food on this flight is barely edible. And what passes for entertainment in this country thesedays is truly depressing. The in-flight movie appears to be yet another romantic comedy about a harriedyoung career woman who finds love in a completely unexpected place. My traveling companion iswatching it with rapt attention, as she swills from her many, many bottles of water. She is clearlyenvisioning herself in the role of the harried young career woman. I think I can say with a certain amount of confidence that she is NOT picturing me in the role of thehandsome young leading man. In fact, her marked lack of enthusiasm for me borders almost on thecomical. She is taking great pains never to allow her elbow to touch mine on our mutual armrest, as if shefears she might contract some sort of deadly virus from doing so. And all this, because I happened to remark on her rather remarkable penchant for bottled water. Oh, and the Crazy Cat thing. Or Wondercat. How was I to know Wondercatis a comic strip, and thatshe is its creator? I haven’t read a comic since Mark and I were kids, and used to shell out 35 cents aweek for the latest edition of Spider-Manat the Big Red Food Mart. I certainly have never made a habit ofreading comic strips in the newspaper—not since I turned ten. The newspapers I choose to read don’thavecomic strips in them. Although I don’t suppose it would be politic to admit that, seeing as how the tome we all work forfeatures two pages of comics daily—not to mention horoscopes and Dear Abby. In fact, now that I’ll beliving in one place for an extended period of time, I suppose I’ll have to start subscribing. So I have thatto look forward to. In addition to so many other joys I’ve missed while I’ve been living out of a bag, suchas apartment hunting, buying various electronic devices like a toaster and stereo equipment, and waitingall day for the cable guy who promised to come between ten and two, and then didn’t show. Ah! Domesticity! How I haven’t missed you! But I suppose domesticity can have its benefits. Mark is happier than I’ve ever seen him. He seemsalmost to welcome the noose that awaits his neck at the end of this journey. Although I suppose when thenoose looks like Holly… And she does, I’ll admit, seem to think about topics outside of her nails and yoga and Must See TV,unlike most of the American women I’ve encountered lately. I even had an intelligent conversation withher last week about Gore Vidal. But I had intelligent conversations with Valerie in the early days, as well. And as for this friend of Holly’s… I don’t know. I suppose allowances must be made because she’san artist. But is cartooning really art? My mother would surely think so. But Mom thinks the lint she picks from the dryer and hot-glues to clothespins is art. And sadly, she issupported in this belief by the art community of Tucson, where she’s lately set up a studio.
  20. 20. Still, though she may be an artist, Ms. Harris does have very shiny hair. It’s brown, like her eyes. The tattoo of a cat head—Wondercat, I’m supposing—she wears just above her right ankle issomewhat off-putting, however. And her mouth never seems to stop moving. Now she’s telling the flightattendant how much she enjoyed the male lead’s last film, in which he played some kind of mutant. This seat is so uncomfortable. I can just fit into it, if I don’t inhale. Oh, well. I’ve slept in worse places. At least there aren’t any guerrillas hiding in nearbyundergrowth, waiting for the opportunity to slit my throat. Or snakes. God, I hate snakes. So that’s something, anyway.
  21. 21. Benvenuti in (Welcome to) Alitalia Inflight Menu Colazione (Breakfast) Spremuta fresca di arancia Omelette alle erbe fini con funghi, pomodori e bacon ala griglia Assortimento di tieviti e pano tostate caldi Caffe, te, latte Freshly squeezed orange juiceHerb omelette accompanied with mushrooms, grilled cherry tomatoes, and bacon Assortment of pastries and croissants Coffee, tea, milk
  22. 22. Travel Diary of Holly Caputo and Mark Levine Jane HarrisCell Phone Guy was right. There is plenty of water onboard this flight. There’s also a lot of wine. Beingdrunk by the very loud group of people behind us. Who keep yelling to the flight attendant in Italian so Idon’t know what they’re saying. But it doesn’t sound very nice. I also don’t think it’s necessarily appropriate to drink wine with breakfast, which is what they justwoke us all up to have. I would have preferred to sleep for the rest of the flight, since it seems like wejust had dinner after all. But they came around with the cart and asked us all if we wanted breakfast and that woke everybodyup, and now we’re all cranky. But especially me because I fell asleep with my mascara still on and Iguess it got kind of gunked up underneath the sleeping mask they gave us, and when the flight attendantwoke me up to ask me if I wanted breakfast and I took off my sleeping mask, I still couldn’t see himbecause my eyelashes were all stuck together. And then he said, “Oh, no, I think not,” about me wantingbreakfast in a kind of horrified voice. So then I had to hurry to the bathroom to try to pick the chunks of mascara from my eyes before Calcould see it. Which he didn’t, thank God, because he was still asleep. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that Cal woke up while I was gone, and I guess wentto the other bathroom, where I suppose he brushed his teeth with the little kit they gave us just like I did,because his breath was minty fresh when he replied to the question I asked him, which I only asked him tobe polite and make conversation, something I’ll be sure not to do again where he’s concerned. Anyway, I asked him if he was excited about the wedding, he said, “Not exactly.” Which is not especially something you want to hear from the best man of your best friend’s husband-to-be, in my opinion. I have to admit I was so shocked I just sat there and stared at the thing on the wall that counts downthe kms until we get to Roma (425). I couldn’t think what he meant by it. It seemed to me that the only thing he could mean by it was that maybe he doesn’t like Holly orsomething, which is ridiculous because of course who doesn’t like Holly? She’s very kind and pretty andis the art director for a huge urban newspaper, which is a thankless job that doesn’t pay nearly as well asit should, considering the fact that she has to work with crazy cartoonists like me, not to mention all theother psychos at the Journal, like that Dolly Vargas from the Style section who is always on Holly’s backfor not making the reds in the Valentine’s Day issue red enough. Plus she completely adores Mark. So why wouldn’t Cal like her? So I asked him—maybe a little defensively, I’ll admit, but hello, I’ve known Holly for years, and if
  23. 23. it weren’t for her, Wondercat would never have seen the light of day, but would still be just a silly sketchin my notepad, and I still wouldn’t be able to pay my American Express bill every month—what he hadagainst her, and he said, totally politely, “Oh, I haven’t got anything against Holly. I think Holly’s greatand Mark’s lucky to have her. It’s just marriage I have a problem with.” So then I realized he’s one of those monogamy-phobes. So I told him about how lobsters mate for life, and if they can do it, why can’t we, and he looked atme sort of funny and said, “Yes, but they’re crustaceans.” To which I replied that I knew that, but that lots of mammals mate for life as well, such as wolvesand hawks (at least that’s what Rutger Hauer said in LadyHawke, so I assume it’s true), and how I thinkit’s romantic and the way things should be. And then Cal said, “If it’s so romantic, how come over fifty percent of marriages end in divorce?How come the leading cause of death for pregnant women in the US isn’t complications from childbirthbut murder by their spouses?” What can you even say to something like that? I swear, if this guy starts spewing those little factoids of his about divorce and murder rates whileHolly’s within hearing distance, I’ll kill him. KILL HIM. She’s got enough on her mind right now withouthearing THAT kind of stuff… I mean, what with her mother and all. Ack! We’re landing! In a few minutes, I’ll be on foreign soil, for the first time in my life! I’m surethe Armrest Nazi, being a seasoned world traveler, would think it’s stupid, but… I’m so excited!
  24. 24. Travel Diary of Holly Caputo and Mark Levine Jane HarrisI got it! My first stamp in my passport! It’s kind of smudgy and you can’t really read the date. But it’sTHERE! Though it TOOK long enough to get it. What is with the LINES in this place? I mean, seriously, doyou think they could have opened more than one customs booth? There must have been three hundredpeople in line ahead of us. This NEVER would have happened in the US. I mean, Americans just wouldnot have put up with it. Still, it gave me a chance to look around and realize right away that my shoes are all wrong for thiscountry. NO ONE here wears Steve Madden slides. NO ONE. The Italian women have slides, all right,but they have these wicked pointed toes and tiny little heels. Plus they are all wearing long pants, notjeans like Holly and I, and they have these cashmere scarves thrown casually over one shoulder eventhough according to the Weather Channel it’s going to be 24 degrees Celsius every day while we’re here,which is in the 80s. I think. So what’s up with that? Also, it was just SLIGHTLY disturbing when the Customs guy was all, “And where in Italy are youstaying,” and I said, “Le Marche,” hoping I’d pronounced it right, and he made a face and went, “Whywould you go THERE?” Frankly, I do not believe that by offering me his opinion on my final destination that he was allowingme to pass without delay or hindrance into his country, as my passport says he has to. Besides which, he’s wrong. Holly always said her uncle’s house was in the most beautiful section ofItaly there is. And okay, according to my guidebook, Le Marche (also known as the Le Marche in English)isn’t that well known to foreigners. But her uncle seems to have liked it well enough to spend a millionbucks on a sixteenth-century villa there. Besides, what’s not to like? Le Marche “forms the eastern seaboard of central Italy—with theApennine Mountains, noted for their bare peaks and dramatic gorges, forming a natural boundary betweenit and Umbria and Tuscany. The areas nearer the coast are celebrated for their fertile rounded hills toppedby ancient fortified towns.” Um, at least according to my guidebook. And OK, maybe it’s not super popular with anyone but Italians (except for my customs agent). Butmy guidebook also goes on and on about its unspoiled beauty…. Whatever. Why is my bag always the last one to get through the fricking carousel? And why is Callaughing so hard at it? My bag is not funny. OK, I painted a Wondercat head on it. But that’s only because
  25. 25. it’s a black rolly bag, and there are only five billion other black rolly bags that look exactly like it. Atleast I can tell mine apart from all the others at a distance of a hundred yards. Plus, my bag’s not as big as HOLLY’s. I mean, I didn’t cram a wedding gown into MINE. Justbecause HE has this dinky little backpack, Mr. Jet-Set-Travel-Guy— Oh, here’s the taxi stand, at LAST. I can’t WAIT to get to the hotel and take a nap. Even if it IS onlyten in the morning here. I’m so TIRED…. What is that incessant BEEPING coming out of my bag? Not just MY bag either… EVERYBODY isbeeping!To: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Claire Harris <charris2004@freemail.com>Re: YouI hope this thing works! You said you’d be able to get emails in Italy, so I hope you get this. Everythinghere is fine, don’t worry. Well, Dad stuck his hand in the wood chipper again, but he was wearing hischain-mail gloves, so he just broke a blade, didn’t lose a finger. He is so forgetful sometimes!Anyway, I know I’m not supposed to say anything to Holly’s mom about how she and Mark are eloping,and you don’t need to worry, I haven’t said a word, even though I saw her at book group last night and shewas practically in tears when we were discussing the scene in which the couple in the book—another oneby that nice man who wrote A Walk to Remember… he’s just so talented. But why do all his charactershave to die at the end?—got married.When we asked what was wrong, poor Marie said all she’s ever wanted is to see Holly settled. Youknow how Holly was always dying her hair purple and getting things pierced and dating the mostinappropriate people all through those years you two were in school together. (Thank goodness you werenever like that! You’ve always been so sensible. I thought your new friend Malcolm was so sweet when Imet him last July. How is his investment banking job, anyway? I’m so happy you’ve finally foundsomeone so responsible! And he looks so young! You’d hardly know he was your age. Must be goodgenes!)I really wanted to say something to Marie like, “Well, you aren’t going to have to worry much longerabout Holly staying single,” but of course I didn’t.Although I sort of wish I had said something now, since Marie went on to say, “I don’t care who shemarries, as long as he’s a nice Catholic boy! I have nothing against this Mark of hers, but he’s, you know.Not one of us.”Oh, dear. I don’t think Marie is going to be very happy when she gets Holly and Mark’s telegram tellingher they’ve gotten married.And Mark is such a nice boy, too. It’s such a shame.
  26. 26. Well, I hope you arrived safely. Be careful of pickpockets in Rome. I hear they like to careen past touristson Vespas through those little narrow streets and snatch handbags and cameras right off by the shoulderstrap! So be sure not to wear your shoulder strap slung across your body or you could be dragged to yourdeath.Love,MomPS Love to The Dude!PPS What is Mark’s friend like? Is he nice? I’m sure he must be, if he’s a friend of Mark’s!To: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Ruth Levine <r.levine@levinedentalgroup.com >Re: Hello!Hi, sweetie! I know you’re off to Europe today with your little friends, but I just wanted you to know thatlast night we had dinner with the Schramms—you remember, you learned to swim in Susie Schramm’sbackyard pool when you were four—and Lottie Schramm told me that Susie is a corporate lawyer in—getthis—NEW YORK CITY! Yes! She works at a firm called Hertzog, Webber, and Doyle on MadisonAvenue (so fancy!), and lives on the Upper East Side, not three blocks from your own place! Isn’t thatincredible? I’m surprised the two of you have never run into one another at H & H Bagels!In any case, Lottie gave me Susie’s email to pass along to you. It’s sschramm@hwd.com. You really oughtto drop her a line, Mark. Dottie showed me a picture. Susie’s grown into a real beauty, and lost every bitof her baby fat (Dottie says because she does Pilates three times a week and hasn’t touched a carb in threeyears).Hope you’re having fun! Don’t forget to wear a sweater in the evenings. I understand it can get chilly thereat night.Love,MomTo: Ruth Levine <r.levine@levinedentalgroup.com >Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: Hello!Ma. Stop trying to fix me up with other women. I am in love with Holly. Got it? HOLLY.MarkTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Inge Schumacher <i.schumacher@freemail.co.it>Re: Greetings!
  27. 27. I am understand you will have arrived today! This is perfect. I am making your uncle’s house, VillaBeccacia, a home for you. All is ready except the towels which dry on line. I am understand three roomsbeds to be made. You arrive by car tomorrow afternoon? You will call me at Villa Beccacia and I willgreet you on the autobahn to show you way to villa.I am hoping you do not mind, my great-grandson Peter visits me on school holiday during your stay. He isgood boy, and drives each morning on his motorino to fetch the brotchen for you. Tschuss!Inge SchumacherVilla BeccaciaCastelfidardo, MarcheTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Tara Samuels <tara.samuels@thenyjournal.com>Re: Travel ServicesSuccess! I’ve booked you a seat to Rome on the 6 P .M. flight today. I’m SO sorry about the confusion, andto make up for it, we managed to upgrade you to first class. Enjoy your flight!TaraTo: Claire Harris <charris2004@freemail.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: YouHi, Mom! I’m writing this to you from an Italian taxi cab! We’re on the way from the airport to the hotelwhere we’re staying for the night before going on to Holly’s uncle’s villa in the morning. Holly made thepaper give us Blackberries for emergency use. I can see why they gave one to Holly, because she’s the artdirector, so her job is actually important. But ME??? I’m a freelancer, I don’t even really work thereanymore. But Holly talked them into it. Isn’t that cool? Of course we have to give them back when we gethome. But whatever.It is so… different here. I mean, I’m only in the cab, but already, it looks way different from home. All ofthe billboards are in Italian! Well, I mean, I know you’d expect that, but I mean, REALLY in Italian. Likethere are no recognizably English words AT ALL.And all of the buildings have these roll-down metal shutters, painted in all these bright colors, to keep outthe sun, because I guess it can get really hot, and no one has air-conditioning.And there are window boxes EVERYWHERE, with CASCADES of red and pink and blue flowersfrothing down them. It’s so pretty!And everywhere you look are these funny little half-cars, like Volkswagen bugs that got cut in half, calledSmart Cars. In fact the biggest car I’ve seen here is the minivan we’re in. I guess Italians aren’t reallyhaving big families anymore. Either that, or they don’t go anywhere with the kids.
  28. 28. I really don’t think you have to worry about my bag getting snatched, Mom. The only people I see onVespas here are fashionably dressed, skinny women, with long flowing hair, driving around in long,pointy shoes with tiny little heels!I’m so tired, I can’t type anymore. I can’t WAIT to get to the hotel so I can crash. I need a shower in theWORST way.Love to Dad. Tell him to keep wearing those gloves.JaniePS The Dude was fine when I left him. Julio, the super’s son, is going to look in on him every day afterschool. I bought him some special tuna Pounce for a treat. For The Dude. Not Julio.JPPS Mark’s friend is NOT a nice guy. He’s totally awful! His name is Cal Langdon and he’s some hotshotreporter who thinks he’s all that. He doesn’t believe in marriage and thinks Mark is making a hugemistake. I don’t know how I’m going to survive a whole week in his company. HE’S NEVER HEARD OFWONDERCAT.JTo: Julio Chasez <julio@streetsmart.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: The DudeHi, Julio! It’s me, Jane! I realize I’ve only been gone a day, but I just wanted to make sure everything isall right. You know, with The Dude. I know how he can get. Just make sure he gets two cans of fresh fooda day (one before you leave for school, and one before you go to bed) PLUS dry food and fresh water,and he should be fine.Be sure to wear the oven mitts if you have to touch him! And whatever you do, DON’T give him anycatnip!Thank you SO MUCH for taking care of him for me. You are the BEST!Love,JaneTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His Mother
  29. 29. Can you believe it? He got an email from his freaking mother about some girl from his hometown wholives in NY now. I’m going to lose it.HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherUm… why are you emailing me from inside the same car we are both sitting in? Also, I thought we wereonly supposed to use these things for work purposes.JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherI can’t exactly talk to you about the email he got from his mother IN FRONT OF HIM, now can I? Exceptthis way.And how are they ever going to know what we use these dumb things for, anyway? How are you holdingup?HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherGood. It’s pretty here.How do you know that his mom emailed him, anyway?JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherDuh. I read it over his shoulder just now. I saw you and Cal talking at the baggage carousel. What did hesay?
  30. 30. HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherOh. Nothing.JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherCome on! SPILL!HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherIs this a setup? Are you and Mark playing Fix Up the Best Friends? Because I told you before, I’mTAKEN. Besides. He’s not my type.JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherYou have a type? What is it? The only thing the guys you’ve dated have in common is that they’ve all beenunemployed. Or, if they HAD jobs, they were also screwing Amy Jenkins, like Dave.HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherWhatever happened to her, anyway?J
  31. 31. To: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherWho? Amy Jenkins?She married a rich lawyer, moved to Pound Ridge, and squeezed out two kids.HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherNo! No, she didn’t! Why did you tell me that? THAT’S NOT FAIR!!! She tried to ruin my life!!! Whyshould SHE have a happy ending?JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherYou call living in Pound Ridge with a lawyer and two kids a happy ending? You so know she spends herdays working out and helping the nanny make wheat-free snacks.Don’t worry. In a couple of years she’ll pudge out and he’ll trade her in for a younger model and shewon’t be able to get a job to support herself anywhere because she doesn’t have any references, and oneday you and Cal will pull into an outlet Benetton to pick up a pair of socks and she’ll be working the cashregister.HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherI don’t want to talk about this anymore.JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>
  32. 32. Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherWhy not?HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherWell, for one thing, he’s sitting right next to me! He might see! Cut it out!JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherHe’s not paying attention. He has his own emails to catch up on. Come on. What did he say? He must havesaid SOMETHING. You guys just sat next to each other for seven hours. Are you telling me he didn’t sayANYTHING that entire time?HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherNothing. Really. Oh, at the baggage carousel, he said he was sorry for stepping on my foot.JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherThat’s IT? Wow. That’s weird. Did he talk about his marriage at all?HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>
  33. 33. Re: His MotherHIS WHAT?????????????????????JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherGod, use question marks much?His MARRIAGE. He was married once, you know. He’s divorced. I just wondered if he’d mentioned it.HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherHe didn’t say a word about this. But it explains an awful lot. Who was the NOT SO lucky girl?JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherHer name was Valerie Something. I don’t know, really, it was ten years ago, back when he and Mark justgraduated from college. They met in a bar. He was the newest cub reporter, and she was a model. Theywent out for about a month before he decided she was the best thing that ever happened to him andmarried her. They only lasted about a year. Apparently, as soon as the divorce was final, she married aninvestment banker, and Cal asked for an overseas post. According to Mark, she broke Cal’s heart.And what did you mean by that explains an awful lot?HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherNothing.
  34. 34. Oh, so you’re saying he has a heart after all?JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: His MotherCome on. He’s a nice guy. He’s had a crappy time with women—I guess his mother left to “find herself”when he was still in high school, and lately, his little sister’s followed suit. He was just put through thewringer by another model, and spent the past decade recovering in places where they don’t have cellphone service. Or working toilets. Can you blame him for being a little rough around the edges?Besides, he can’t be THAT bad. Mark says Cal’s always been a real ladies’ man—that he’s got a girl inevery port, if you know what I mean. In fact, Mark was sure you two would hit it off right away. He saidyou’re just Cal’s type. Apparently, he’s partial to brunettes.He really must not like you.HollyTo: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: His MotherWow. That’s really nice to know. Thanks so very much for that.JPS Oh, and thanks for trying to fix me up with him, but even if I COULD stand him, which I can’t, he’s amodelizer. You KNOW once a guy’s had a model, he can never go back. So, nice try.To: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoThe girls are emailing back and forth about us.MarkTo: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>
  35. 35. Re: BenvenutoThat is blatantly obvious.CalTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoWhat do you think they’re saying?MarkTo: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoI honestly could not care less.CalTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoDon’t you like her? Jane, I mean? Holly was sure you’d like her.MarkTo: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoShe seems harmless enough.CalTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoYou don’t like her.
  36. 36. MarkTo: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoI didn’t say that. All I said was that she seemed harmless. Much in the way an anaconda seems harmless,when it’s wrapped around a tree branch ten feet above your head.CalTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoShe’s not like that.And she already has a boyfriend, anyway.So get over yourself, fathead.MarkTo: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoFathead. Harsh.CalTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoSeriously. ARE you seeing anyone—anyone SPECIAL—these days?MarkTo: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: Benvenuto
  37. 37. They’re all special, my friend.But special enough to shackle myself to her for the rest of eternity, the way you’re doing?No.But your concern for my romantic well-being is, as always, greatly appreciated.CalTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoLook, it’s just that I know how tough things were for you after—To: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: BenvenutoOh, look. The hotel. Stop e-ing me, please.Cal
  38. 38. RICEVUTA TAXI-ROMAPercoso:Da… Fiumacino A… Hotel AlexanderFirmaImporto Corsa 80.00 Euro Benvenuto al nostro albergo! (Welcome to our Hotel!)Gentile Ospite,Nel porgerLe il nostro cordiale benevuto, abbiamo pensato fe FarLe cosa gradita offrendoLe, al suoarrivo, un assaggio di acqua dalle proprietaria salutari.Dear Guest,We wish to express our warmest welcome to our hotel. Given our genuine care for our Guests, we inviteyou to enjoy the healthy qualities of this bottled water.
  39. 39. Travel Diary of Holly Caputo and Mark LevineJane HarrisWe’re HERE!!!!!!!! At the hotel, I mean. It’s the sweetest little place, tucked into a side street that isn’t wide enough to let a car coming fromthe other way pass by. And packed with people! I thought it was a pedestrian walkway and that the taxidriver was going the wrong way. But it turned out it was the Via di Buffalo, which is the street our hotelis on. Still, it was kind of scary when those Italian school kids kept knocking on the car windows. Iwonder what the driver yelled at them to make them run away like that. This is what comes of not havingenough social programs for young people. Those kids should have had something better to do on aSaturday than stand around the Via di Buffalo, knocking on tourists’ car door windows. Not that I want to tell another country how it ought to be bringing up its children, or anything. Butstill. All I wanted to do was get to my room and take a nap, but Cal had to start arguing with the taxidriver when he saw the receipt. He said over his dead body was he paying 80 euros for a ride from theairport and that the taxi driver might think he could bilk the tourists that way, but that he, Cal, had been toRome before, and he knew the fare from the airport wasn’t a cent over 40 euros. In English. Which itturned out the driver perfectly understood. And after a lot of grousing, he finally agreed that 40 euroswould do. So it’s good Mark invited Cal along with us. I guess. Anyway, my room is so adorable, a tiny little blue-and-white thing with gold curtains that, when Iopened them, turned out to be for a window that looks out over the most beautiful courtyard, with whitedoves flying around it, and bougainvillea spilling from window boxes all over the place, and a skystretched over it that, I swear, looks bluer than the sky over Manhattan, somehow. It is EXACTLY likeHelena Bonham Carter’s room in the pensione in Room with a View. Only there’s no view. Well, exceptfor the courtyard and the sky. And there are big bottles of water right here in my room, for later, and I turned on the TV, andeverything was In Italian! I mean, I knew it would be. It’s just SO WEIRD! I thought I would be way too tired to want to go out and sightsee, but now that I’m finally here, I’mreally stoked! I want to get out there and see EVERYTHING. After all, we only have about 24 hours inRome before we leave for Le Marche.
  40. 40. On second thought, I didn’t sleep very well on the plane, thanks to The Armrest Nazi. I suppose Ishouldn’t call him that anymore on account of him having been so tragically jilted all those years ago bythat model. But seriously, what did he expect, marrying a model? Modelizers get exactly what they deserve. Maybe I’ll just rest my eyes for a minute or two…. Funny. I miss The Dude. I’m so used to his big gray body curled up to mine in bed, I don’t know ifI’ll be able to get to slee— — — — — — —To: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Arthur Pendergast <a.pendergast@rawlingspress.com>Re: The BookWhere are you this week? Nigeria? Well, wherever it is, just thought I’d give you the good news:Sweeping Sands made the Times extended list. Number 18. If you’d agreed to tour, we’d have probablydebuted even higher. But I know, I know. You’ve got this wedding to go to. Oh, it’s also number 48 on theUSA Today list. Which isn’t bad for a hardback.Check out this cover sketch for the UK edition and let me know what you think.Have you given any thought lately to what #2 is going to be about? The second book on your contract, Imean. No hurry, just that it’s due in a couple months, and you still haven’t submitted a proposal. Have yougiven any thought to dirty diamonds? That’s a pretty hot topic these days. And I hear Angola is nice thistime of year.Arthur PendergastSenior EditorRawlings Press1418 Avenue of the AmericasNew York, NY 10019212-555-8764
  41. 41. To: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Aaron Spender <a.spender@cnn.com>Re: ThingsWhat’s this I hear about you throwing in the foreign-correspondence towel and taking a post stateside?What are you, going soft on me in your old age? It can’t be because of this multimillion-dollar book deal Ihear you landed a while back, because the Cal Langdon I knew never cared about money. I distinctlyrecall you saying, that night we were trapped in that bomb shelter in Baghdad, that you never wanted toown any material goods because they might “weigh” you down.All I can say is, you can buy a heck of a lot of pot holders with the kind of green you’re raking in, buddy.Anyway, if you’re serious about staying home for a while, why work for that rag? Believe me, I’ve beenthere, and it is not where you want to be. Come on over to where the REAL news is being made. Printmedia is dead. It’s all about television these days. I can set you up with a really sweet deal, if you’reinterested. Let me know.Barbara says hello.Aaron SpenderSenior CorrespondentCNN—New YorkTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mary Langdon <m.langdon@freemail.com>Re: MomSo I heard from Dad you’re back in the States for a while—well, except for some jaunt to Italy to be awitness to some guy named Mark’s wedding (it’s not Mark from next door, is it? Didn’t he end upbecoming a doctor or something else really boring? Typical).I also heard you got a cool mil for some book you wrote, and that they want a second one. What are yougoing to do with all that scratch? Try to lure the ex back from Mr. Investment Guy?Why don’t you send some of it my way? I’ll keep it safe for you. This whole weaving thing isn’t reallyworking out, anyway, and I was thinking of heading up north with this guy who’s got a tiedye biz going outof his van.Anyway, keep in touch. And welcome back to the good old US of A. It sucks just as much now as it didwhen you left.MarePS Have you heard the latest about Mom? She actually has a SHOW. An ART show. Of her stupidlint/clothespin people. I don’t know how SHE can get a show and I can’t. My weavings are way more
  42. 42. artistic than her lint people.To: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Graziella Fratiani <graziella@galleriefratiani.co.it>Re: YouWhat is this I hear about you coming to Roma and not calling to me? I would not have known a thing aboutit if Dolly Vargas hadn’t happened to mention it during our interview. You are a naughty, naughty boy.Where are you staying? Call me. You know the number. I will come by your hotel and give you a trueItalian welcome.Ciao, amore XXXXGrazi
  43. 43. PDA of Cal LangdonArt sent the UK cover design for Sandstoday. It’s got a very romantic feel to it that I’m not sure is entirelyappropriate, considering the book’s subject matter. Well, I suppose if it tricks unsuspecting readers intobuying it, expecting it to be a work of fiction about a mummy’s curse instead of a nonfiction treatise onSaudi Arabia’s tiring oil fields, all the better. I can’t believe Aaron Spender is still among the living. I’d have assumed Barbara Bellerieve bit hishead off and ate it on their wedding night. I still marvel at my own lucky escape from her clutches. If ithadn’t been for that Daisy Cutter… And Mary. I guess that grand I sent her last month didn’t last very long. What the hell does she dowith it all? It’s not like she ever has anything to show for it. She can’t smoke it ALL away, can she? Iwish Mom and Dad had taken some control over her earlier in her adolescence. She probably wouldn’tstill be living out of some guy’s van at the age of twenty-five. But I guess they weren’t necessarily the best role models, as parents go, considering Dad’sobsession with the track and Mom’s conviction that she’s the next Grandma Moses. It’s surprising,actually, that Mary isn’t a bigger flake than she is…. Much like some people I could mention. It was amusing, coming from the airport, to hear Holly’sfriend squeal at the sight of every monument—and every passing billboard. It’s been a long time sinceI’ve seen anyone get so excited about a sign for mouthwash. I thought she was going to have a coronarywhen we drove by the Colosseum. I’m not entirely sure which impressed her more… the fact that it’sstood for over two thousand years, or the fact that Britney Spears was recently there, filming a televisioncommercial (at least, that’s what Holly’s friend announced to all of us). There is something refreshing about American enthusiasm for antiquity. I guess I forget, having beenaway so long, that there is still a place on this earth where there are no structures older than half amillennium. It must be impressive to see something that existed fifteen hundred years before theMayflower…. Of course, if we hadn’t slaughtered all the Indians and destroyed their native lands, it would bedifferent. Good Lord. It just occurred to me. What if that wasn’t what she was impressed by? What if it wasthe Britney Spears thing? But no. No, that couldn’t be. Not even an artist could be that shallow. I’ll have to remember to change money later, if I can find a place with a decent exchange rate. I blewmy last euro on that cab ride— That was the concierge. Grazi is here. That didn’t take her long. I called her less than half an hourago. Still, I thought she’d be coming over later tonight, not NOW. I guess it would be ungentlemanly of me not to see her, though….
  44. 44. To: Julio Chasez <julio@streetsmart.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: The DudeHi, Julio! Me, again! Just checking in, since I haven’t heard from you. How’s The Dude doing? Does helike that salmon paté I got him? I figured he’d appreciate a few treats, with me being gone. I hope youfound the Pounce. I left it on the counter, with the oven mitts. Really, you should only need the Pounce ifhe tries to attack. Which he really shouldn’t, I mean, he KNOWS you. You two are buds. Right?Well, let me know how he’s doing as soon as you get a chance. No biggie. You can just email, if youwant. Or call. From my phone in the apartment. That way it won’t cost you anything. Don’t worry aboutthe time difference, you can call at any time. I don’t mind being woken up, if it’s for The Dude.J
  45. 45. Travel Diary of Holly Caputo and Mark Levine Jane HarrisOh my God, this place is FABULOUS! When I woke up from my nap, it was two, and I called Holly tosee if she was hungry, and she was, but Mark was still asleep, and Modelizer/Armrest Nazi didn’t pick uphis phone (much to my relief) when Holly tried him… you know, to be polite, and not exclude him. So Holly and I met in the hall and the two of us just strolled right out onto tiny Via di Buffalo, whichI suppose is named after the mozzarella, which is made from buffalo milk, at least in Italy, and we startedwalking, and in half an hour, not five blocks from our hotel, we’d seen the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon,the Piazza Navone, and a bunch of other sights I can’t even remember, as they all involved monolisks withbumpy writing on them. But that’s not all! We saw portrait artists, right on the street—good ones, not like the cheesy ones inNew York—and people eating gelati, and groups of senior citizens following around tour guides holdinga flag, and I threw money in the Fontana di Trevi—I don’t know how much, because it was Italian—which apparently guarantees you’ll be back there someday. Which I hope is true, because it’s a kick-assfountain, almost as cool as Ozzy’s pool on The Osbournes. And we were solicited by a humpbacked dwarf with no shirt on and a tattoo that said Antonio on hisshoulder, and I gave him some money, and then I bought a bottle of Diet Coke that cost five euros, whichis more than a six-pack back home, and I realized I gave the humpbacked dwarf enough money to buyFIVE Italian Diet Cokes. I really need to get a grip on this money thing. Although I’m sure Antonio (if that’s his name) needsthe money more than I need Diet Coke. And then Holly wanted her picture taken with a hot guy dressed as a gladiator in front of thePantheon, so I started to take one, but then this very blowsy older woman dressed in a toga came over anddemanded ANOTHER five euros, just for letting me take the picture with her hot gladiator boyfriend! Theguy just stood there looking all sheepish while this went on, but Holly was all, “I want it, it’ll be funny,”so I forked over five more euros and took the picture. Holly said later that right before I took the picture, the gladiator handed her his plastic sword, andwhen she asked him, “What should I do with this?” he went, in a long-suffering voice, “Keel me. Please.” Which in and of itself was totally worth five euros. And everywhere we went, lots of Italian vendors came up to us, another one every five seconds, itseemed, going “Bag, California?” I guess because we look like we’re from California, even though ofcourse we’re not, though we are sort of tan thanks to Holly and Mark’s share in EastHampton. Only how they knew we were American I can’t tell, though we were talking a lot, I suppose. And Iam apparently the only girl in all of Rome who wears
  46. 46. Steve Madden slides. But then Mark called on Holly’s cell and said he was hungry and Cal wasn’t answering the phone inhis room, so we agreed to meet Mark for a snack. Except that on the way back to the hotel, we passed a church where a wedding was going on—orabout to go on, anyway. I saw the crowd and assumed it was another sight we should see, but then itturned out to be a lot of tourists like us waiting outside a church with some flower girls and maids ofhonor, and we realized it was a wedding! So then Holly said she had to stay to see the bride for luck, since she was getting married too. So we edged into the church and stood there and waited and it wasn’t long until a sleek beigeMercedes sedan pulled up and the bride, looking incredibly chic in an ivory sheath with a tiny veil gotout, beaming and speaking in Italian to the little flower girls who started jumping up and down. I got some very good photos of the whole thing and wanted to ask her if she wanted me to send hercopies (the bride I mean), but I didn’t know the right words in Italian, and besides, by that point her fatherhad come out of the church and lent her his arm, and that’s when Holly and I realized we were standingright in the aisle, with the groom at the front of the church with the priest, trying to see past us to catch aglimpse of his wife-to-be in her gorgeous ivory sheath. So we scampered out of the way and I looked at Holly and saw tears in her eyes!!!! I thought she’d been stung by a bee or something so I was like, “Let’s go find some ice!” but it turnedout that wasn’t it at all. Holly looked at me all tearfully and went, “I want my father to lead me down theaisle! Only he doesn’t know I’m doing this. And I’m not even going to have an aisle. Because we’re goingto get married by some clerk in some office.” Then she burst into tears right there on some street I can’t remember the name of. Of course I had no choice but to hustle her as fast as I could to the café where we’d said we’d meetMark for snacks. Only I knew it was my duty as witness/bridesmaid to get her cleaned up before herfuture husband saw what a psycho he was marrying. Not that he didn’t already know, since Holly cries atthe end of every episode of Seventh Heaven she sees, even the reruns, and won’t pick up the phone onMonday nights as a consequence. But still. We got a seat right away at the café across from the Pantheon—an outdoor table, even. In New York,you practically have to chew off your own foot to get an outdoor table anywhere. Maybe the waiter saw
  47. 47. how dire our need was, considering Holly’s tears. Anyway, he sat us under the shade of his restaurant’sbig fluttery awning, and I said, “Un verre de vin blanc pour moi et pour mon amie,” forgetting I wasn’t in11th-grade French, but in Italy. The waiter totally took it in stride though. “Frizzante?” he asked me. I had no idea what he was talking about, but remembering I was in Italy and not France, I managed tosay Si and not Oui. My first foreign language exchange! I’d spoken English with the Diet Coke guy and Mr. Gladiator’spimp. And OK, the exchange hadn’t been in the actual language spoken in this country. But it had still beenforeign. Then the bread basket came, with a little pot of silky white butter, and we dug in, because even whenshe’s crying, Holly can still eat, which is one of the many reasons I love her. And I told her how lucky she is her father ISN’T here, since, like her mom, he doesn’t exactlyapprove of Mark. Which is ridiculous, because Mark is totally perfect husband material, being completelysweet and thoughtful and funny and self-deprecating and totally the opposite of his horrible friend Cal theModelizer in every way. Plus Mark’s even reasonably good-looking. Oh, and a doctor. With a weeklyhealth column in a New York paper that’s read by millions. What more could the Caputos ask? A Catholic, apparently. Sometimes I get so mad at Holly’s parents for what they’re doing to her, I just want to spit. But then, Mark’s parents are just as bad, in their own way. “L–like it even matters to us,” Holly sobbed, as the waiter reappeared with two glasses of whitewine on a tray. “I mean, I haven’t been to church since I was eighteen! Church was their thing, not mine.And Mark hasn’t set foot in temple since his bar mitzvah. We have no intention of raising our children anyparticular religion. We’re going to bring up the kids a-religious. And then when they’re old enough, theycan decide which religion—if any—they want to belong to.” I nodded because I had heard this many times before. The wine in the glasses the waiter was puttingdown in front of us seemed to catch the sun and dance around before my eyes like fool’s gold in thebottom of that stream Laura found on that one episode of Little House on the Prairie. “Why can’t they just respect that this is the man I love?” Holly asked, picking up her glass and takinga gulp. “And, yes, he’s Jewish. Get over it.” I sipped my wine too— And nearly spat it out! Because it wasn’t wine at all! It was champagne! Only better than champagne! Because the bubbles in champagne usually give me an instant headache. But these bubbles were tiny and light—barely there at all.
  48. 48. “What is this?” I asked, in wonder, holding my glass up to the light and looking at all the lovelybubbles. “Frizzante,” Holly said. “Remember? He asked, and you said Si. It’s like…fizzy wine. Don’t youlike it?” “I love it.” I loved it so much, I had another glass of it. By the time Mark joined us, I was in a VERY goodmood. Fortunately, so was Holly. There was so much people-watching to do in our corner of the piazza thatshe soon forgot all about the wedding we’d seen, and her yearning for her dad to give her away at herown. Soon we were able to pick out the American tourists as quickly as the Italians obviously could. Idon’t mean to say anything negative about my countrymen and women, but hello, the Fab Five have theirwork cut out for them. Holly was instantly cheered, as always, by the sight of Mark. He asked for a menu and got one—inEnglish!—and ordered mussels and an antipasto platter, and we sat and ate chunky crumbles of parmesanand fresh tangy olives and buttery slivers of salami and garlicky mussels and had fun watching othersuckers get fleeced by the handsome, morose gladiator and his pimp. Then the shadows started getting longer and Mark checked his Blackberry and said we should begetting back to the hotel to change for dinner. So we got the bill—which Mark insisted on paying—andstarted back, Mark with arm around Holly’s waist, and her head leaning on his shoulder, her unhappinessfrom a few hours earlier blissfully forgotten. And I wished SO HARD that awful Modelizer Cal was with us, so he could see how cute Holly andMark are together, and how great a couple they are, and what sweet parents they’ll make, and what acrime it would be if they didn’t get married. I mean, how could anyone look at Holly and Mark and think,for even one minute, that marriage is an antiquated institution that ought to be abolished? They are livingproof that it works. Just because Modelizer’s wife turned out to be a money-grubbing beeyotch doesn’tmean— Ooooh! I got an email! On my Blackberry! PLEASE let it be Julio!!!!To: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Malcolm Weatherly <malcolmw@snowstyle.com>Re: Ciao!Hey, babe! How’s it hangin? So ya there yet? Whaddaya think? Pretty rad, huh? Yeah, I-ty blew my mindwhen I was there last year for the European Open. Even the freaking coffee tastes better there.But I don’t get the whole “everything closing from noon to four and lunch and everybody serving nothingbut pasta after ten” thing. Bummer if you wake up at one and want a freaking waffle.But make sure you try one of those bidets. It’ll change your life!
  49. 49. Stay away from those I-ty Latin Lover types. I know how those guys operate. They only want a green card,anyway. Not that you’re not, you know, totally hot.Aw, gotta go, I’m up next on the halfpipe. Luv ya.MalPS Know what? I kinda miss The Dude. Give him a big kiss for me, willya? Oh, you can’t, cause you’rein I–ty. Sorry.
  50. 50. Travel Diary of Holly Caputo and Mark Levine Jane HarrisIsn’t that sweet? I miss The Dude, too. If he were here right now, he’d be curled up around my feet. And my toes would be losing all circulation because he weighs so much. But still. I don’t understand why Julio hasn’t written, though. What if he forgot? To feed The Dude, I mean? But how could he forget? I stuck a giant sign on his dad’s door, to remind him…. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Walking through the piazza behind Mark and Holly. Well… while I was looking at them, and thinking how cute they are, and what a shame it was thatModelizer Cal wasn’t there with us to see them and all, I got a pang. A PANG. I’ll admit it. I mean, I am totally happy for Holly and in full support of this elopement scheme.Really, given the situation, I don’t see how she and Mark have any choice BUT to elope. But seeing them together like that, her head on his shoulder, his arm around her—I felt a pang. Because where is MY Mark? Really? Where IS he? Because I know he’s not in Canada right now, hitting the halfpipe—or the full pipe. Or even both, asin Malcolm’s case. I mean, I like Malcolm and all, and we have a blast together. But I can’t really picturehim strolling through the piazza with his arm around my waist. Skateboarding through it, certainly. Buthaving a nice glass of bianco frizzante as the sun sets? Not so much. I’m sure he’s out there, somewhere. My Mark, I mean. He has to be, right? But what if I never find him? Or what if I already met him, and I messed it up somehow? This wouldnot be unusual, since I mess up everything. I mean, what if My Mark was DAVE who cheated on me withAmy Jenkins (that whore)? Oh, God, no. Fate would never be so unkind. Or what if My Mark was Curt Shipley, who took me to the prom in 11th grade, and we made out inhis Chevette afterwards, and then that summer, I found out he’d been making out, in that same Chevette,with Mike Morris after the fireworks on the Fourth of July? Which means I must have turned Curt gay, because he certainly wasn’t gay BEFORE we made out. Oh, my God. What if Curt Shipley was the man of my dreams, and I TURNED HIM GAY?????
  51. 51. Killing self now.To: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: SorrySorry I missed it when you called earlier. I was dead to the world. We still on for dinner tonight?CalTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: SorryYes, I happened to hear how “dead to the world” you were as I passed by your room on my way to meetthe girls. I wasn’t aware that corpses were sexually active… at least, if I’m to assume the heavilyaccented female voice calling your name with ever-increasing volume as she climaxed was, indeed,coming from Room 204.MarkTo: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Re: SorryOh. That was Graziella. She won’t be joining us tonight.CalTo: Cal Langdon <cal.langdon@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com>Re: SorryI am sorrier to hear that than words can adequately express. See you at eight.Mark
  52. 52. PDA of Cal LangdonIt was a mistake to invite Grazi in. I should have insisted on going to her place. I’d forgotten how… loudshe can be.
  53. 53. ANTIPASTIInsalatina mista all’aceto balsamico Carpaccio tiepido di manzo con parmigiano e rucola Medaglioni d’astice con insalata di stagione PASTA Fusilli con pomodori e basilico Garganelli con pesto, patate e fagiolini Tagliolini con zafferano, gamberoni e zucchine SECONDI PLATTIMedaglioni di vitello in crosta di basilico con purea de melanzane e parmigiano Filetto di manzo alleerbe aromatiche Tagliata di manzo con timballo de patate e cardamomo Filetto di rombo al forno con limone e capperi INSALATE DI STAGIONE SELEZIONE DI FORMAGGI ITALIANI DOLCIBavarese al cioccolato bianco con crema cocoa alla liquirizia e latte di madorle Mousse al cioccolato fondente con sedano candito Crema al limone Budino al cocco con frutto della passione
  54. 54. PDA of Cal LangdonInsisted on paying for dinner, as spent majority of it pontificating on Sweeping Sands, and felt I had tomake amends. Also, it was the least I could do after Mark’s revelation regarding Grazi. Eight hundredeuro, but worth it—especially the wine. Don’t think I made a friend of Ms. Harris, however. Which is a shame, because she looks ratherfetching in heels—a point that was driven home rather hard when she stumbled outside the restaurant, andI was forced to pry her heel from where it was wedged between two cobblestones. The tattoo IS of Wondercat. It’s the same cat’s head that she’s got on her luggage. I’ve never beenone for tattoos, but hers is rather fetching. I can’t believe I wrote the word fetching. This country goes to my head like prosecco.
  55. 55. Travel Diary of Holly Caputo and Mark Levine Jane HarrisOh, my God, that restaurant was so fancy that they even had tiny little chairs for ladies’ purses! Seriously!Like the waiter held my chair for me, then he pulled out this matching stool for my bag! The bag I boughtoff an outdoor table on Canal Street in Chinatown, then bedazzled with Wondercat’s face! In a seat ofhonor! It was almost too much. There was silverware on the table I had never seen before. Plus, in the ladies’ room, there were actual folded hand towels for every visitor. Not paper towels.But a huge stack of tiny hand towels, so when you dried your hands, you reached for one, then threw it intoa laundry basket underneath the sink. I have no idea what I ate for dinner. It was delicious, though. The waiter said a bunch of stuff, andHolly, who speaks a little Italian, and Modelizer Cal, who I guess speaks a little more than that, justnodded and went, “Si, si.” And then plates began to appear, of squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese,and perfect little circles of foie gras, and curls of endive dripping in butter and cheese…. That meal had to have been three thousand calories, at least. But I didn’t care. Because it was all so delicious. THIS IS SO FUN!!!!!!! Well, except for Cal. It’s no WONDER he’s never heard of Wondercat. I doubt he’s ever readanything for fun in his entire life. Holly made the mistake—BIG one—of asking him what the book hewrote is about. Of course a modelizer like him can’t be writing something cool like a spy thriller or dick lit, likeNick Hornsby or anything. Oh, no. HE has to have written a book about—get this—how Saudi Arabia’soil fields are on the decline, and soon won’t be able to meet the world’s demands. This, of course, isgoing to crush Saudi Arabia’s economy, and have serious repercussions throughout the rest of the globe,as well. Yeah. Who cares? Guess what, Cal? In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to vote or drive cars.Why should I care if that nation’s economy goes down the tubes? Maybe if they’d let women have somesay in their country’s governance, they wouldn’t be in this sorry position in the first place. Sadly, he SAW me yawning. Cal, I mean. And instead of just politely accepting my apology— “Sorry, jet lag”—he was all, “This could havea profound impact on you, too, Jane. What do you think those water bottles you’re so fond of are madefrom? Petroleum.” Geez! I love Mark to death, but why is he even friends with this guy? Oh, sure, maybe the ex left him
  56. 56. a bitter shell of a man. But does he have to take it out on me? Also, he may think he’s slick, but when I was leaving my room to meet Holly and Mark for cocktails down in the lobby, I got a major eyeful of what he spent the afternoon doing, as she slunk out of his room and down the stairs. I don’t care what Holly says about me being his type, it’s a total lie. Cal Langdon’s “type” is STILL clearly five-foot-eleven blonde models, NOT five-foot-four brunette cartoonists into whose jeans TWO of said models could easily fit. As if that’s not bad enough, when we were waiting for a taxi to take us home, I looked over and saw Mark take off his jacket and wrap it around Holly, who was shivering a little in her sleeveless pink dress. Then he put his arm around her, and the two of them nuzzled each other. NUZZLED. They were NUZZLING. And I looked over to see if Cal had noticed, and he totally had, he was looking right at them. And I will admit that it was impossible to tell what was going on behind those steely baby blues of his. But I imagined—my second BIG MISTAKE—that he was feeling the way I was… that Mark and Holly are the cutest couple EVER and totally belong together and it’s a CRIME what their families are doing to them, being so unreasonable about the differing faiths thing. So I went, in a soft voice so Mark and Holly wouldn’t overhear, “Do you STILL think those two shouldn’t get married?” And the Modelizer went, “I give it a year. Two, tops.” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t believe it! I mean, where could he POSSIBLY be getting that? So I went, “Are you crazy? They’re totally in love. Look at them.”You know love is just a chemical reaction in the brain caused by surges of phenylethylamine, don’t you?”onfused) “You’re saying Holly and Mark don’t really love each other? That it’s all in their heads?” ’m saying no one loves anyone. People are attracted to one another and pair up to breed due to our natural mating instinct. But that attraction doesn’t last. As with all drugs, the body develops a tolerance for the phenylethylamine, and eventually, the attraction you once felt for your partner fades. It’s all perfectly natural. You can get the same amount of phenylethylamine, a stimulant the mind craves, by ingesting vast amounts of chocolate as you can by, quote, falling in love, endquote.” o… you don’t believe in romantic love?” believe I just said that.”Because of the vast amount of time you’ve spent studying the subject?”
  57. 57. rom my own personal experience, yes. And from the relationships I’ve observed around me.” o Holly and Mark are going to break up because there’s no such thing as love?”Oh, no. Well, yes, eventually. But well before that happens, they’re going to break up because their backgrounds are too different.” I really don’t think I can be blamed for saying, “At least they’re both human, unlike the skank I saw leaving your hotel room earlier.” I had the satisfaction of seeing him, for the first time since we’ve met, completely speechless. Sadly the effect was ruined when one of my stiletto heels got caught between the cobblestones outside the restaurant. It gouged away all the silver lamé. I don’t think it can be fixed, either. I’ll admit the cobblestones are charming, but have these people never heard of asphalt? It was totally humiliating too, the Modelizer had to help me pry it loose. My heel, I mean. His hand fit all the way around my ankle. You know, his fingers met his thumb on the other side. Thank God I remembered to shave my legs in the shower before dinner. God, I’m so jazzed from all that good food, I don’t think I’ll ever fall asleep. Plus, I keep thinking about The Dude. He has to be all right, doesn’t he? I mean, Julio would have called if there was anything wrong. I left my cell number by the phone, so Julio could call from my phone, and not wrack up a bill on his parents’ line. And I just checked it, and he hasn’t called. So The Dude is good. No news is good news, right? The Dude HAS to be good. It’s just that we’ve spent maybe only five nights, total, away from each other since he was a kitten. Who is going to get up during The Dude’s 4-AM windowsill yowl at the moon and comfort him if I’m not there? That yowl used to drive me insane. But now I sort of miss it. I’d give anything to hear that yowl right now. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be able to go to sleep without it— — — — — — — —
  58. 58. — — — —To: Customer Service New York Journal Travel Privileges <TravelPrivcustser@thenyjournal.com >Fr: Mark Levine <mark.levine@thenyjournal.com >Re: Car RentalI realize it’s Sunday, and that your offices are closed. However, when I made the reservation for a rentalcar in Rome, I specified that I needed a four-door sedan with trunk room for four VERY LARGE bags. Iasked for a Jaguar or Mercedes, NOT a Toyota. Now I have to cram one of the bags in the backseat withtwo passengers, and we’re going to be driving through MOUNTAINS. Do you really think it’s safe todrive through a mountain range with a large, overstuffed suitcase between passengers in the backseat?I didn’t think so. I’ll expect to hear from you on Monday.Mark Levine, MDTo: Julio Chasez <julio@streetsmart.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Re: The DudeHi, Julio! I have to admit, I’m getting kind of worried. Is everything OK? I mean, you haven’t written backto me, and I just want to know if everything is going all right. I know you’re busy with school and hockeyand all, but if you could just send me a tiny message, letting me know The Dude’s all right, I’d reallyappreciate it.I think I’ll try your pager.JTo: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>Fr: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Re: Where are you?????????????????????To: Holly Caputo <holly.caputo@thenyjournal.com>Fr: Jane Harris <jane@wondercat.com>

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